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Everything You Wanted to Know About NASA's German Touring Series

The German Touring Series is wide-open in terms of its rules structure and the variety of cars that can compete in this class. To find out more, we spoke with GTS National Director, Michael Gershanok. He pointed out that E30 BMWs and Porsche 944s are great candidates for GTS1, but Volkswagens, modern Minis and Audis also can run in GTS1. In GTS2, the BMW E36 M3 likely is the most popular choice, and even then it has to be detuned a bit. In GTS3, a detuned E46 M3 is a go-to car, however, no car is permitted to drop more than one class from where it would be classed naturally based on factory horsepower and curb weight. For example, a BMW M3 with an S54 engine naturally falls into GTS3, so it cannot be classed lower than GTS2 regardless of how detuned it is.

By the time you get up to GTS4 and GTS5 and even GTSU, the game escalates with a field of modified E46 M3s, E90 and E92 M3s, and Porsche GT3 Cup cars.

The NASA German Touring Series is comprised of six classes of German cars organized strictly based on power-to-weight ratios. This simple formula provides broad flexibility in vehicle choice and in the modifications allowed, which include just about anything. The result is a broad range of modifications and extraordinarily close racing. GTS classes range from GTS1, with the highest power-to-weight ratio, all the way up to GTS5, and the unlimited GTSU, which has no mandated limits. Most GTS cars tend to be either Porsches or BMWs, but GTS fields include vehicles from Audi, Volkswagen, Mercedes-Benz, and even Mini. GTS has rules in place to discourage body contact and encourage good sportsmanship. Because of the wide variety of eligible cars, the cost to build a competitive car could range from $10,000 to almost anything.
Any vehicle of German manufacture meeting NASA CCR standards for competition is eligible for competition. The vehicle must have originally been badged and assigned a VIN by one of the following manufacturers: Audi, BMW, Mercedes-Benz, Merkur, Mini, NSU, Opel, Porsche, Volkswagen. Competitors are encouraged to request an exemption to the above list. Please contact the GTS National Director. Upon issuance of exemption, a signed allowance must be attached to the logbook.

The following table shall be used to determine each car’s base minimum weight when multiplied by the engine’s average horsepower or peak torque multiplied by .9, whichever is higher. In case peak torque is even or higher than average horsepower, the minimum weight will be determined by peak torque ratios:

Minimum ratio for: D.O.T. Approved Tires Non-D.O.T. Tires
No limit
No limit

All front-wheel drive cars will be given minus .4 correction ratio. Drivers are fully responsible for classing their own cars. Detunes and weight adjustments are not allowed to drop a car below one class drop from the “natural class.” Natural Class is defined as where the car would fall based on published factory horsepower and curb weight. For example: A BMW M3 with an S54 engine is naturally expected to be in GTS3, and should not be classed below GTS2 regardless of the detune.


GTS 1 – No S54/S62/S65/S85/GT3/Cup Cars or Turbo over 2.0 L

GTS 2 – No S62/S65/S85/GT3/Cup Cars or Turbo over 2.5 L

GTS 3 – No S55 (F80 M engine)/ S85/ or Turbo over 3.0 L

GTS 4 – No S85 GTS5 and GTSU – unlimited

The above list of additional comments is to serve as an example of the most common models currently competing in the series, but may be modified or expanded based on the future participation examples. In cases when drivers want to compete with cars outside of the above outlined limitations of the detunes – the formal request must be submitted to the National GTS Director accompanied with the detailed description of the car, dyno data, declaration form and details of the method of the detune – to obtain an exception. The approval must be attached to the Log Book and presented at the events.

Any driver caught in violation of the spirit and the honor of the rules may face serious penalties.

Varies by car and horsepower. You can access the class calculator here:

GTS Class Calculator

Permitted fuel is any grade of commercially available unmodified gasoline, E85 Ethanol, biodiesel, or diesel. The driver must notify the Race Director if using methanol or other exotic fuel, when class rules permit. Vehicles that run on (all or in part) electricity, propane, or hydrogen must be cleared through the National Office in writing.

Donor Prices

BMW E30 $500 to $5,000

BMW E36 M3 $5,000 to $15,000

BMW E46 M3 $10,000 to $20,000

Porsche 944 $500 to $5,000

Porsche 996 $15,000 to $25,000

Porsche 997 $25,000 to $50,000

It depends on the class, but the general trajectory of prices rises with class number in GTS. For example, you can find built cars that can compete in GTS1 for around $10,000. In GTS2, you can pay as much as $20,000. For GTS3, $30,000. For GTS4, GTS5 and GTSU, the prices start around $40,000 and $50,000, and can top the $100,000 mark depending on how new a platform you want.

Modifications center on safety, engine, suspension and aerodynamics. German Touring Series National Director Michael Gershanok explained:

“The higher the class, the more elaborate and more sophisticated the components are,” Gershanok said. “Converting from a street car, the suspension components like shocks and springs and sway bars are the first in line to change.”

Average cost to run a weekend — $2,000 to $3,000 depending on class and your tire program.

Tires and prices (from Phil’s Tire Service, Cragsmoor, N.Y.)

Toyo Proxes RR $188 to $344

Hoosier A7s $232 to $511

Michelin slicks $295 to $825

Maxxis RC-1 $138 to $248

BFGoodrich R1-S $212 to $369

Brakes, brands and prices

BMW E36 and E46

Hawk DTC-60 fronts $212 to $235

Hawk DTC-70 fronts $209 to $264

Carbotech fronts $200 to $285

Porsche 997 GT3

Hawk DTC-60 fronts $342

Hawk DTC-70 fronts $452

Hawk HT10 fronts $379

Check the NASA Contingencies page for the latest programs.

“Racing room” differs from NASA CCR and is defined as “at least one car width plus 6 inches.”

A modified 13/13 rule. The Modified 13/13 is not intended to be used for individual instances of contact or other driving situations as NASA has clearly-defined and well-documented protocols for addressing individual racing situations. Rather, this rule and its inherent flexibility are intended to provide race officials with a discretionary means of dealing with habitual offenders.

Good choice of platforms and plenty of aftermarket support for each.

Horsepower-to-weight ratios and an open rules set that is easy to follow.

Racing German cars, new or old, is rarely cheap. Prices are out of reach for many drivers. In upper classes, a thicker wallet can translate to greater success out on the racetrack.

In the NASA CCR, under section 25.4.2 ‘Punting,’ the rules define ‘racing room’ as: ‘at least three-quarters of one car width.’ For racing between two or more GTS cars, ‘racing room’ is hereby defined as: ‘at least one car width plus 6 inches.

For the purpose of these rules, the test of engine eligibility is intended to recognize that some manufacturers (e.g., MINI) use engines not manufactured by either themselves or by any of their sibling companies. However, because such engines were delivered in these otherwise GTS-eligible cars from the factory, the engines shall also be considered eligible within the other constraints described above.

All adjustable engine management systems must be declared on the Dynamometer Certification Form. Failure to do so will result in disqualification of all timed sessions for the weekend at minimum. Any hardware that allows a competitor to wirelessly connect to the ECU at any time during competition or post-competition impound is strictly prohibited, regardless of whether such hardware is external or internal to the ECU.

Side windows are permitted in GTS. They must made of eighth-inch-thick minimum Lexan (polycarbonate) and have fasteners no closer than every 4 inches. Drivers with side windows must be able to exit the vehicle within the same timeframes required of drivers who do not have side windows.

Because it is nearly impossible to have an AWD dynamometer at an event, all AWD cars must have dyno results before entering their first event. This dyno testing must be done on a Dynojet brand dynamometer. Dyno test results must be accompanied by a Dynamometer certification form. There will be no exceptions. Any car without the certification will run in GTSU.

In the event of a protest against an AWD car, the protested and protesting parties must both be represented at the retesting. Retesting must follow the same procedures and the fees will be paid by the party in error. If a GTS official’s presence at the retesting is required, the party in error shall pay the GTS official’s expenses.


Questions and Answers to Feed Your Curiosity

GTS2 and GTS3 today, but that changes at times and throughout the different regions.
Yes, on the regional level with the allowance cleared by the regional GTS series leader. At the National Championships, that type of a car will have to run in one of the ST classes according to their rules.
It is intense, but friendly with a high level of camaraderie and respect.
Be prepared to race in the close proximity with other dedicated and capable drivers. The GTS has modified 13/13 and additional required room to share the track to enhance safety and emphasize no-contact policy. GTS is using in-car data boxes for compliance in addition to regular Dyno testing and scales.
Not more than any other series. Gets more expensive moving up to the upper classes GTS4 and GTS5 and GTSU.
If you prefer to race a German car in the series with the open-rule format, allowing and encouraging car development with few restrictions and strict compliance protocols, GTS is for you.
There are positives and negatives either way you go. It’s always better to custom build to meet your expectations, especially if you enjoy the process, but buying is almost always less expensive.


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German Touring Series Contacts

German Touring Series
Blake Troester
Region: Utah
Title(s): Regional Series Leader
Series: German Touring Series
Chris Davis
Region: Mid Atlantic
Title(s): Regional Series Leader
Series: German Touring Series
Edward Baus
Region: Great Lakes
Title(s): Regional Series Leader
Series: German Touring Series
Eric Wong
Region: Mid Atlantic
Title(s): Regional Series Leader
Series: Super Touring,German Touring Series
James Hutto
Region: Southeast
Title(s): Regional Series Leader
Series: German Touring Series
Michael Gershanok
Region: Northeast
Title(s): National Series Director,Regional Series Leader
Series: German Touring Series
Paul Geddings
Region: California-Northern
Title(s): Regional Series Leader
Series: German Touring Series
Rafer Chambers
Region: Rocky Mountain
Title(s): Regional Series Leader
Series: German Touring Series
Rokket Horton
Region: Florida
Title(s): Regional Series Leader
Series: German Touring Series
Will Choice
Region: Texas
Title(s): Regional Series Leader
Series: German Touring Series